Remember when there was an East Germany and a West Germany? That’s how it was throughout my childhood years, and that’s what we learned about in school. East Germany was the communist nation, shrouded in gray. I never thought about it much, preferring its larger and more vibrant neighbor, West Germany.
When I first visited Germany in 1983, it was West Germany that our group traveled to. East Germany was not tourist-friendly. Maybe you weren’t even allowed to visit it at all? I can’t remember.
But 25 years ago this month (October 3, 1990, to be exact), East and West Germany officially reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany. German reunification is celebrated annually on October 3 as German Unity Day.I wasn’t a child at the time of the reunification — it was my second year of teaching. The Berlin wall had come down the year prior, on November 9, 1989. I remember talking to my second graders about this. I always liked to discuss current events with my students since I think it’s important for them to be informed about the world around them. They were pretty tuned-in to Germany anyway, since Bingo the German bear puppet spoke to them “auf Deutsch” each morning, and they could count in German and say some simple phrases. We arranged the classroom into two parts, and set up a “wall” of chairs dividing the room. We later “tore down” our wall, and I hope the visual has stayed with them over the years.
Since that time, I’ve seen pieces of the Berlin Wall displayed in various places we’ve visited.
Do you have memories of the Berlin Wall coming down, or of the reunification of Germany?